A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Harper Collins Publications

Age Recommendation 4-8 years

A Chair For My Mother‘ is the story of Rosa, a little girl who lives with her mother and grandmother in a small apartment. Rosa’s mother works as a waitress in the Blue Tile Diner. The nature of her work keeps her standing or walking all day. This makes her very tired by the time she reaches home. They do not have a decent chair in the house to sit because they had lost everything in a fire that had occurred at their house a year back. Everything was burnt to ashes in that fire. So they went to stay in a different apartment which was unfurnished. When they first moved into their new apartment, their neighbours helped them with food. They also brought other household items which they were not using at their homes as one of the neighbours brought tables and chairs. And yet another one brought an old bed from the time when their kids were small. Their relatives helped them with utensils, curtains and other things to start afresh.

A chair for my motherFrom then onwards, Rosa’s mother collects all the change from the tips she receives from the patrons at the diner in a big jar. There are days when her mother brings home a lot of coins as tips and other days when the tips are very less. But as a rule, they put every single coin into the jar. Since they do not have a soft cushiony comfortable chair to sit on, they sit in the kitchen and count the tips.

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What happens with the money they collected diligently in small amounts over such a long period? Does it change their lives in a meaningful way? The rest of the story has some valuable lessons around habits that we think are not for children. One such habit is saving money for a rainy day. This story about Rosa and her family illustrates how even young children can start saving in their own little ways.

Community help is another theme beautifully explored in the story when the neighbours and relatives help Rosa and her family to start afresh after the fire.

A meaningful short story backed by colourful self-explanatory illustrations by Vera B. Williams is a useful resource to teach children about saving money, helping others, sharing and living together in harmony.

Also Read: ‘A Cloud of Trash’ by Pratham: The much-needed book for community cleanliness

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